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Re: ID/IDREF makes XML generation NP-hard


tim bray idref
Henry S. Thompson wrote:
> Somewhat surprisingly, it turns out that answering the question, for an
> arbitrary XML DTD, "Are there any valid instances of the document type
> defined by this DTD?", is an NP-hard problem.

There's related problem that I'm willing to bet is as well.  Suppose you 
take an instance and generate a trivial DTD for it by making one 
<!ELEMENT declaration for every actual element.  For example

<x>
   <y><a/><a/><a/></y>
   <y><a/><a/></y>
   </x>
generates

<!ELEMENT x (y,y)>
<!ELEMENT y (a,a,a)>
<!ELEMENT y (a,a)>

The problem is to reduce the grammar to a  minimal form by the 
application of Kleene * and +.  E.g.

<!ELEMENT x (y+)>
<!ELEMENT y (a+)>

I think there's a fistful of dissertations lurking in there, and last 
time I checked (admittedly a decade or more ago) it hadn't been worked 
over very well.
-- 
Cheers, Tim Bray
         (ongoing fragmented essay: http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/)



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